Which Retailers Are Getting Personalization Right? [EXPERT ROUND-UP]
Personalization and targeted marketing is one of the top priorities for retail marketers in 2016. According to the Evergage report, “2016 Trends in Personalization,” 85% of marketers are using some form of personalization in their marketing.
Yet marketers in general do not yet see themselves as personalization experts, with over 50% giving themselves a grade of C or lower on their personalization efforts.
So just who’s getting it right?
To find out, Manthan talked to several retail experts and asked them this very question:
Which retailer do you think is getting customer personalization right, and how?
“Under Armour and their collaboration with IBM Watson is a great example. Using an app ecosystem, UA is able to give people a 360 view of wellness (training, nutrition, etc). And with IBM Watson they can create customized personas and deliver personalized information and insights accordingly, such as behavioral and performance management, food intake and nutrition management and how weather impacts training.”
“I think True Religion and John Hazen are doing incredibly innovative things in omnichannel personalization with wearables that optimizes its clienteling application and increases engagement with shoppers. The strategy is intended to slow down the engagement by making it interactive, content rich and, yes, cool. True Religion has developed an iWatch application it calls ‘Band’.
Associates wear the watches and call up screens based on the customer’s questions, likes, wants and needs. This is done without the requirement to operate a handheld device and lose eye contact with the shopper. When a product is recommended, the associate “throws” the image to a large display screen for review. This can be done for products in the store or for endless aisle sales. True Religion also has a ‘Blackbook’ (customer profile) application that enables associates to personalize store engagements using an iPad. It is currently in the process of rolling it out to ‘Band’. These applications not only offer an advanced level of personalization but, just as importantly, deliver a customer experience that will not be soon forgotten.”
“At GlobalShop last year a woman on our live consumer panel on ‘Technology & the Path to Purchase’ said, “I want to date technology, I don’t want to marry it.”
When personalization is of mutual benefit to both retailers and consumers, they welcome it. Saks Fifth Avenue, for example, recently expanded the shopping experience with a new service that includes 24/7 online access to store associates. Saks associates can also personally create and curate customizable boutique pages on saks.com for individual customers. It’s where high-tech meets high-touch: Customers can now choose where to shop and receive the same personal service online as they do in-store.”
“BetaBrand are crowdsourcing incredibly creative ideas, such as the Disco Hoodie and Dress Sweatpant, and giving people what they want in a new, content as commerce way.”
Business Journalist, specializing in retail and consumer trends. @bthau
“Nobody can beat Amazon’s proprietary algorithms, which power its product recommendation engine. The nation’s biggest online retailer pioneered the, “if you bought that, you might like this” innovation, which suggests complementary products to shoppers based on their purchase behavior, and helped define a standard of personalized interaction that consumers have come to expect from an e-commerce site.”
“Nordstrom has been a long time leader in personalization thanks to their return policy – or lack of one. Their approach in supporting customers based on individual customer needs continues through their customer service, in-store care and online shopping options. While other merchants lead in more tech savvy options, Nordstrom still leads when it comes to supporting customers with unique, stand-out customer care. Countless independent retailers mimic this same approach, which is ideal for their customers, as well.”
“Rent the Runway incorporates customer data into several areas of its business, making it one of the key leaders in retail personalization. When visitors go to the web site, they can tailor their shopping experiences based on the product category, event occasion, color, fit and myriad other factors. After they rent an item, they’re encouraged to share photos of themselves in the garment, their height, weight and the overall fit. This data, coupled with a star rating system and qualitative feedback empowers shoppers to make the right decisions for their needs and body types. Rent the Runway continues to personalize the experience by delivering relevant coupon codes, trend emails and new release emails based on consumers’ purchase histories. All of these tactics work together to create personalized shopping experiences as consumers go along their unique browsing and buying journeys.”
“Amazon has been nailing personalization for years and continues to raise the bar. They have an abundance of data on shoppers’ clickstream, searches, cart contents, purchase history, and now voice commands. Their automated personalization both on- and off-site helps drive frequency and conversion rates that lead the industry.
I’m also intrigued by retailers like Best Buy and Home Depot, which are taking a customer-centric approach to personalization by letting shoppers opt in to receive alerts on pricing and stock availability via platforms like MyAlerts. The line between creepy and cool is blurry, but letting customers take control is a powerful idea.”
“No retailer has perfected personalization, but Sephora is one of the more advanced players. It allows customers to create their own profiles which includes information on their skin tone. Product recommendations are then tailored to match their preferences. In store, customers can use iPads to access their details and find suitable products, while staff can use their profile information to make recommendations and give advice. The great thing about Sephora’s efforts are that they are not just confined to online; they actively embrace the in-store shopping experience.”
“True personalization is helping your customer buy in every channel they choose, with any device, at any time, in any way. There is a reason why Amazon Prime customers convert at 74%, 22 times better than the average ecommerce site. It has little to do with technology but with culture and how they view their world with the customer in the center of it. This is all because Jeff Bezos set out to create earth’s most customer centric company’.”
“Amazon and Netflix are two of the very best at personalizing for individual customers. Amazon leverages its vast CRM of previous searches and purchases to suggest relevant accessories, and options in other categories. Netflix has its own unique algorithms to personalize “discovery content”. Personalized based upon consumer’s movie, artist and director preferences. Both Amazon and Netflix are masters at having personalized recommendations follow consumers through social media.
The very best at personalization in a more standard retail model are also the best at executing omnichannel. Personalized customer experience in stores and online is the reason John Lewis omnichannelcustomers buy 350% more than those who just shop one channel. The key differentiator is that John Lewis customers can shop, purchase and request delivery anytime and anywhere based upon their personal needs.”